With KwaZulu-Natal’s crime rate spiralling out of control, the provincial community safety department is exploring ways to have anti-crime volunteers paid a monthly stipend.
Addressing delegates attending the provincial government’s multi-stakeholder meeting attended by business, traditional leaders and other organisations involved in crime fighting in Durban on Tuesday, acting head of the community safety department, Glen Xaba, urged business to consider assisting the department raise funds for the payment of community policing forum (CPF) members.
The department is willing to pay the CPFs but unfortunately government doesn’t have the funds. So, it would be appreciated if business could assist in this regard
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Earlier, KZN premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube told the meeting that it would be critical for members of the community to join the fight against crime if the anti-crime campaign were to succeed.
Dube-Ncube, who called for a strong collaboration between government and business in the fight against crime, said criminals would by now have been “suffocated” if community members were working with police in the fight against crime. “Unfortunately, at times our people tolerate criminals,” she said.
According to the latest national crime statistics, one in every four murders were committed in KZN.
Despite the fact that more police have been deployed to KZN to assist in the fight against crime, the province’s citizens are still not getting the protection they need from the police.
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Some citizens complain that when they call the police during the commission of crimes ranging from housebreaking to murder, the police either arrive late or do not arrive at all.
Xaba told the meeting that even though there are currently about 19 000 police officers in the province, a number of factors made it difficult for police to respond promptly to crime incidents.
The fact that KZN was vast, with most parts of the province being rural, Xulu said, made it impossible for police to always arrive at crime scenes on time.
In some KZN rural areas, Xaba said, poor roads and other factors resulted in police having to drive for about two hours to reach an area where a crime has been reported.
Given the seriousness of the crime situation in the country, the provincial government has resolved to set up a policing fund to address the province’s crime-fighting challenges — particularly the ones related to the shortage of resources.
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Dube-Ncube told the meeting that all provincial departments have been instructed to contribute towards the policing fund — which so far has R100 million.
Community Safety MEC Sipho Hlomuka, said the provincial government departments have further been urged to surrender vehicles which they were currently not utilising.
“Such vehicles will be donated to CPFs so that they are better resourced when they confront criminals,” he said. The department, Hlomuka said, was currently increasing the number of CCTVs across the province.
There will soon be CCTVs all over KZN, including in townships and rural areas
While the private sector, municipalities and CPFs previously played a major role in fighting crime in the province, Hlomuka said the impact was minimal.
“They were operating in silos. What will happen going forward is that there will be a more integrated approach in the fight against crime. This meeting is the starting point,” he said.